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Key details

Award title
MA Writing for Script & Screen (also available as PGDip)
Awarding body
Falmouth University
Level
7
Duration
MA 2 years; PGDip 15 months
Mode of study
Online, part-time
Total MA fee
£12,150
Start dates
January and May
Next welcome week
20 May 2024
Next start date
28 May 2024
Application deadline
7 May 2024

Succeed in the script writing business

Gain the writing skills, industry know-how, professional skills and experience of collaborative working that the ever-changing screen-writing industry demands. 

Learn how to function within a professional environment across different screen industries, and create work that stands out from the crowd

Develop your portfolio across different platforms or focus on the mediums and genres that interest you through live briefs, collaborative projects and independent research. 

You will: 

  • Learn the fundamentals of storytelling and how these can be applied to your chosen script medium 

  • Gain the professional skills needed to compete in the script writing industries, including how to write treatments, develop characters and setting, present your work in the correct format, and pitch your ideas 

  • Collaborate and network with other script professionals around the world  

  • Gain the research skills, critical and theoretical approaches needed to underpin your practice  

  • Gain an understanding of current trends and developments in the screen industries.  

Check out our guide to becoming a professional screenwriter, where Course Leader John Finnegan shares his advice for bringing your ideas to life. 

Why study with us?

You may be a recent graduate looking to develop specialist knowledge, or a writer who wants the skills to adapt existing work for screen. You might be a current practitioner in the screen industries who’s keen to further your growth. As a student of the course, you’ll receive the support you need to reach your career goals.

This is because our modules are designed to help you in the real world – from honing your creative capabilities to developing the networking and presentation skills that are essential to creating professional relationships and securing work.

Hear from a graduate

In this video clip MA Writing for Script and Screen Course Leader John Finnegan and screenwriter graduate Fiona Georgiou-Hunt discuss the course's dynamic approach, showcasing adaptability to industry shifts and addressing current topics such as AI in screenwriting. 

So one of the things that we're really proud of, is that we do try and make sure that we are staying up speed on everything that is going on in the industry, that we're adapting lectures and webinars. It is an online course. And a lot of online courses, they'll prerecord everything, and it'll just get rolled out and, you know, and and and that'll be it. And then, and they'll kind of just recycle that content again and again going forward.

We don't like to do do that, we we, you know, it is I've always said it's a flexible course. It's flexible in how you use it. It's flexible in how we deliver it as well. And and if there's a a shift in the industry, we will adapt to that. I remember, you know, when me too happened, right, you know, right around the time course was launching. You know, we had, case studies in there that were, you know, that we realized, you know, having learned about what was going on in the industry and so on Okay. We need to need to pivot on that, and we need to change, the way we talk about these particular, projects now or caveat them or or remove them entirely in cases. And we weren't afraid to do that.

You know, we weren't afraid to to kind of adapt to the challenge of of actually responding to the the demands that the industry was now was now was now was now expecting. That also, fed into the way in which we, the way in which we, worked with writers to make sure that their projects were responding to those changing trends. It was a very good positive trends that were taking place in the industry to bring about change in reform. And that was one example. And then, you know, just even you know, in terms of the day today of how we of how we run the course, I'm always keeping abreast of what's going on in the industry and then, you know, sharing that stuff out with students to kind of say, you know, have you considered this or check out this article or whatever, what's going on? We've been talking about the strike a lot on the course because that was obviously the biggest thing that's been happening for screen writers in the industry recently.

Yesterday, I did a a webinar around digital screenwriting. And normally, I don't really talk about I'm I've never really talked about AI, but in the last few months, you know, it's become such a last year. It's become such a talking point now for screen writers. It was one of the reasons why they went on strike. It's now been become a fixture in that webinar moving forward, talking about AI in a way that explores the strengths and weaknesses of implementing these tools in in in in a creative in a creative context. I knew the quality of my work and the quality of the pitching process and pitching skills that I had were good enough that I could go into that meeting and have that conversation. I was nervous as anything, but I knew I could do it. And so and I think that is really great. To as part of this course is that you do build the the strength because you know that the stuff that you're doing is quality. I think that's really you know the stuff industry standard, you know that the that how you're being taught is is right and of the moment. So it gives you that string to be able to go out and have those conversations. And look, I didn't go into that particular meeting with a production company, which I should have done because that's how they normally would commission that work.

So I knew that I was probably on hiding to nowhere in one way, but I also wanted to push myself because I wanted to build that relationship with that network exec. And I wanted them to know who I was. And I wanted to put myself on their radar to go, oh, okay. Well, you know, that's there's a screenwriter there that writes this kind of stuff. So and it's about that. It's it's and, you know, one of the things you'll learn through the course, if you don't already know it is rejection is constant. And means nothing about you as a writer. It's about how your project fits to that particular person, that the time on that particular slate with that particular budget. So you get really good at at just letting rejection and slide off you and you just because I know my script is good, that particular script. It just hasn't found its right home, and that wasn't its right home. So, you know, and and that's a That's fantastic to be able to come out of a course feeling like you're a little bit bulletproof about the work that you do, which is really important, gives you that robustness of being able to, you know, bat off the stuff that invariably you have to deal with. I was a bit shy early on in connecting with, John and Mikaela and Dan and the team, don't be that I think, you know, make build your relationships with the lecturers and the team, build the relationships with your colleagues.

Again, I probably took me a little while to kinda I was pretty sort of insular at the beginning quite and and not really couldn't see the advantage of it, but if I had my time again, and went back to the course, I would go back and build those relationships more quickly, build a broader group of colleagues. I mean, I've got incredible team that I went through with who I love very dearly, but, I would do that more. And the other thing I would suggest is just make the most of every genity. And I know probably that gets said a lot, but, literally, the ability to then connect into the script department post the course how that got me opportunities in industry, how it continues to be something that makes me better at what I do. Just like everything that the course throws at you in terms of, you know, the the professional development module, don't sort of shirk on it and go out. It's been hard. I'm a bit scared to talk to industry. Like, do it, push yourself, take every opportunity, meet everybody you can, because it really does it really does serve you into the future, and you'll really make the most of the course, and it will it will do amazing things. It will change your experience of the course. I think if you just embrace every opportunity that comes your way fully. I think that would be my tip.

Entry requirements

You should have:

An honours degree or Level 6 equivalent qualification.

A piece of sample writing in the form of a screenplay, formatted to an industry standard. The screenplay can be as long as you wish but should be at least 5 pages. It can be an excerpt of a larger piece of writing. You can also submit other pieces of sample writing such as short stories, plays or radio dramas along with your screenplay, to support your application.

If your first language is not English, you'll need to take one of the following tests to verify your proficiency:

  • IELTS - minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • TOEFL iBT (online test) - minimum of 88 overall and at least 21 in all 4 components
  • LanguageCert (online test) - a High Pass from the ESOL B2 Communicator test in reading, writing, speaking and listening (2 parts)

We accept a number of additional English language qualifications as well.

Candidates without a degree or formal qualification are also encouraged to apply. If you have prior learning or experience with this subject, you may even be able to apply for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). You can learn more about this via our APL guide.

 

Course details

What you’ll learn

Explore fundamental questions of storytelling and scriptwriting, develop scriptwriting portfolios and professional briefs, and learn how to promote yourself as a freelance scriptwriter.  

Course structure

MA 

You will need to complete four 30-credit modules and one 60-credit project (180 credits in total). All modules on the course are compulsory and must be passed in order to complete the award. 

PGDip 

You will need to complete four 30-credit modules (120 credits in total). All modules on the course are compulsory and must be passed in order to complete the award. A dissertation (major project) is not required. 

Please note the module orders are subject to change.

Module one

Storytelling for Script & Screen (30 credits) 

In this module, you will examine, explore and practice the fundamental questions of storytelling and script writing: ‘Why do we tell stories and how do we tell stories?’

You will learn specific script writing skills: script layout, visual storytelling, genre, setting, character, dialogue and the construction of scenes and sequences.  

 

Module two

Individual Script Development Workshop (30 credits) 

In this module, you will develop an individually negotiated scriptwriting portfolio.

More complex elements of scriptwriting will be rigorously explored, including: deep structure (scenes and sequences), in-depth character development, and sustaining narrative and theme in a feature film, television series, or a digital game.  

 

Module three

Writer’s Room: Collaborative Script Development (30 credits) 

In this module, you will work collaboratively on a professional brief. 

In the first 10 weeks, working in Script Development Teams, you will develop industry practice project proposal documents.

In the final two weeks, you will work in the roles of client/commissioner for each brief, assessing the project proposal of another team, and deciding whether to ‘green-light’ the project.  

Module four

Screen Industries: Professional Development (30 credits) 

In this module, you will learn strategies for promoting yourself as a freelance scriptwriter.

You will identify an area of special interest, and you will research contemporary practice in order to produce a case study that evaluates current markets and opportunities.

You will then generate a series of ideas in response to your findings, which you will communicate through a pitch document.  

Final major project (MA only)
Final Major Project (MA only) (60 credits)

 

In the final module, you will work on a major script development project for a platform/medium of your choice.

You can either further develop work that you have produced on other modules, or you can develop a new concept. 

At the end, you’ll have a finished piece of work of professional quality. 

 

Storytelling for Script & Screen (30 credits) 

In this module, you will examine, explore and practice the fundamental questions of storytelling and script writing: ‘Why do we tell stories and how do we tell stories?’

You will learn specific script writing skills: script layout, visual storytelling, genre, setting, character, dialogue and the construction of scenes and sequences.  

 

Individual Script Development Workshop (30 credits) 

In this module, you will develop an individually negotiated scriptwriting portfolio.

More complex elements of scriptwriting will be rigorously explored, including: deep structure (scenes and sequences), in-depth character development, and sustaining narrative and theme in a feature film, television series, or a digital game.  

 

Writer’s Room: Collaborative Script Development (30 credits) 

In this module, you will work collaboratively on a professional brief. 

In the first 10 weeks, working in Script Development Teams, you will develop industry practice project proposal documents.

In the final two weeks, you will work in the roles of client/commissioner for each brief, assessing the project proposal of another team, and deciding whether to ‘green-light’ the project.  

Screen Industries: Professional Development (30 credits) 

In this module, you will learn strategies for promoting yourself as a freelance scriptwriter.

You will identify an area of special interest, and you will research contemporary practice in order to produce a case study that evaluates current markets and opportunities.

You will then generate a series of ideas in response to your findings, which you will communicate through a pitch document.  

Final Major Project (MA only) (60 credits)

 

In the final module, you will work on a major script development project for a platform/medium of your choice.

You can either further develop work that you have produced on other modules, or you can develop a new concept. 

At the end, you’ll have a finished piece of work of professional quality. 

 

How you'll learn

With Falmouth Flexible, you access your course content, interactions with other students and tutors, and learning resources, through Canvas, an easy-to-use online platform.  

You can access the course wherever you are in the world, and you can stop, pause and rewind lectures whenever you want. 

Engaging learning activities will help you apply theory to practice. They could include: 

  • Concise online presentations to introduce key concepts 

  • Small group and class discussions and crits to facilitate interaction and dialogue 

  • Online critiques to test assumptions, ideas and to receive feedback from peers and tutors 

  • Individual and group tutorials throughout the course 

  • Independent study 

  • Self-evaluation and peer feedback. 

All assessments are taken and submitted online.

Assessment methods for the masters degree in Writing for Script & Screen can typically include: 

  • Coursework assessment with no formal examination 

  • Portfolios, projects, online presentations and pitches. 

As one of our students, you’ll have access to a range of services designed to support your studies and make your time with us as enjoyable as possible.

  • Falmouth’s comprehensive online library of books, journals, and resources

  • A Student Advisor team to answer non-academic queries

  • Online software tutorials via LinkedIn Learning

  • The Students' Union community

  • Career advice, CV creation, practice interviews, and more via our careers platform

Teaching team

Designed with employer-focused learning at the core, the MA Writing for Script & Screen team work with global organisations, staff and alumni to provide you with the breadth of experience and networks needed to accelerate your career.

Guest lecturers have included:

  • David Hayter, who wrote the screenplays to X-Men (2000), X-Men 2 (2003) and Watchmen (2009)
  • ​Brandon Boyce, whose writing includes Apt Pupil, and Bad Samaritan with David Tennant
  • Award winning short filmmaker and tv director, Oisin Mac Coille

“This master’s is very different to other screenwriting courses that I’ve come across, in that it focuses on business practices within screenwriting that will help you as a professional screenwriter. It’s taking that step on from just writing the script.” 

Daniel Tuck, MA Writing for Script & Screen

“The course is helping me to structure and question what I’m writing and its use on the page. It’s helping me become a screenwriter, but it’s also helping with my prose.”

Mandi Allen, MA Writing for Script & Screen

The Script Department

The Script Department logoMA Writing for Script and Screen is also affiliated with The Script Department, a production company run by screenwriters, for screenwriters. Created by Course Coordinator John Finnegan and Module Leader Michela Cortese, The Script Department has a scripted podcast of the same name that regularly features student work and has served as an opportunity to partner with alumni after they have finished the course.

MA Writing for Script & Screen graduates Marcus Armstrong and Laura Owen now serve as producers in the company and have worked with many existing students to produce their writing into scripted audio dramas for the podcast.

In early 2021, the Script Department released A Ball in the Brain: General Gordon's Last Stand, a 4-part script reading, written by BAFTA-winner Stuart Urban and read by Pip Torrens (The Crown, Preacher, Poldark). The project was co-produced by MA graduate Laura Owen.

The Script Department has also just released the first trailer for their upcoming feature-length script-reading, The Clearing, which is written and read by graduate Belinda Lees. In addition, The Dead Cry Out, written by John Finnegan and Michela Cortese and read by Allen Leech (Downton Abbey, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Imitation Game) was recently featured as a weekly series on BBC Radio Cornwall.

More information about the projects our students contribute to can be found on The Script Department website and Facebook page.

Face-to-face events

Up to twice a year*, you’ll have the optional opportunity to meet your classmates and tutors in person. Dates and location of the events will vary. Events usually incorporate a weekend to accommodate busy schedules.  

Our latest face-to-face event sees students head to Dublin, Ireland to develop screenwriting projects and hear from industry experts.

Previous events have included a visit to the Screenwriting Research Network Conference in Milan, where our students had the opportunity to participate in sessions on adapting a movie into a TV series, writing female characters, writing comedy and screenwriting history.  

Find out more about face-to-face events on our student experience page.

*Please note that given the variability in participant numbers and the specific nature of planned events, it may not always be possible to organise them for every course every year.

How to apply

Before you apply 

Visit our Application process page for detailed information on how to apply.

Should you require assistance with your application, don't hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable course advisors. They are dedicated to guiding you through the application process, ensuring you submit the strongest possible application for your course admission.

 

Application steps 

  • Submit an online application form
  • Submit a copy of your first degree certificate or Level 6 equivalent qualification and your IELTS certificate if English is not your first language 
  • Submit a piece of sample writing in the form of a screenplay, formatted to an industry standard. The screenplay can be as long as you wish but should be at least 5 pages. It can be an excerpt of a larger piece of writing. You can also submit other pieces of sample writing such as short stories, plays or radio dramas along with your screenplay, to support your application.

Late applications may be considered if places are available. 

Fees, costs & funding

Fees

Total course fee

£12,150 (including £350 acceptance fee)

Payment options  

  • One-off payment 
  • Six equal instalments spread over a two-year period 

Payment methods  

Payments can be made online or by phone, using a credit or debit card, or by bank transfer. 

 

Typical course costs

Additional costs

In order to participate fully in the course, you will need to purchase screenwriting software.

You can also take a look at our guide to the different screenwriting options:

What's the best scriptwriting software?

Funding options

Application offers

We offer a range of bursaries, early application offers, and alumni discounts.

Loans

You may be eligible for funding from the UK Government.

 

Total course fee

£12,150 (including £350 acceptance fee)

Payment options  

  • One-off payment 
  • Six equal instalments spread over a two-year period 

Payment methods  

Payments can be made online or by phone, using a credit or debit card, or by bank transfer. 

 

Additional costs

In order to participate fully in the course, you will need to purchase screenwriting software.

You can also take a look at our guide to the different screenwriting options:

What's the best scriptwriting software?

Application offers

We offer a range of bursaries, early application offers, and alumni discounts.

Loans

You may be eligible for funding from the UK Government.

 

Careers and employability

This MA is built to help students establish successful careers as writers in the script writing industries, irrespective of where they are in their professional journey.

Upon graduating from the course, you’ll be well-equipped to work professionally across a variety of mediums – including video games, cinema, television or digital media. Our graduates have worked on productions with companies such as Netflix, Amazon Studios, and HBO.

Learn more about the career options available to you as an MA Writing for Script and Screen graduate:

Explore MA Writing for Script and Screen careers

In addition to the guidance offered by our tutors, you can also access our RealWORKS, our careers and employability service throughout your studies, and for up to 5 years following graduation.

Our expert team will help you identify potential opportunities in the UK or internationally, prepare for job interviews, advise you on starting up your own business, and more.

Watch our short overview to find out more about the programme:

 

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Writing for Script & Screen resources

Working in theatre and stage production: Graduate story
Working in theatre and stage production: Graduate story

Discover the journey of Julie-Anne McDowell, an actress turned writer and producer. Learn how she pursued her passion for storytelling, overcame challenges, and achieved success in the screen industry. 

Producing a short film after a screenwriting MA: Graduate story
Producing a short film after a screenwriting MA: Graduate story

From writing TV comedy scripts to producing his own short film, delve into the unique experience of an MA Writing for Script & Screen graduate and see how this flexible online course propelled their career forward.

Building on screenwriting success: Graduate story
Building on screenwriting success: Graduate story

Can the MA in Writing for Script & Screen benefit someone already successful in the industry?